Richard Lamparski is the author of ten volumes of Whatever Become Of…? books, which followed-up on the lives of obscure former celebrities. For the 90s edition of The Book of Lists he made a list of nine people he never found. The most famous was Betty Page, the 50s pin-up goddess. I think it’s pretty strange that a woman like that can have such a cult following and no one knows what happened to her. Have any new revelations come to light since the list was published in 1993?
I recall seeing a special (perhaps on Biography) about her. She’s still alive and gave an interview (in a darkened room so you couldn’t see her face).
Playboy magazine did a story on Bettie (that’s the correct spelling, btw) Page some years ago - I don’t know when, but it was more recently than 1993. She was living a life of happy obscurity, was surprised that anyone even remembered her, and said she had no desire to return to the public eye. IIRC, she refused to be photographed for the story, but the author did note that her trademark bangs were no more.
Dave Stevens, the comic book artist who created The Rocketeer (and based the character’s girlfriend on Bettie Page), is good friends with the real-life Bettie. I’d say he is responsible in large part for bringing her back to popularity in the '80s and '90s. But on the E! True Hollywood Story about her (which is recommended viewing for any Bettie-philes), Bettie appeared in silhouette so as not to ruin her mystique. She is obviously an old woman now, and she is amused and flattered by her cult following, even though she doesn’t make any money off the use of her image.
I read somewhere that she’d had schophrenia and was arrested for attempted murder, but it’s been a while since I read that. There was a book about her, much more recently than 1993.
According to the E! True Hollywood Story, when she left the world of photography, she found God. She spent many years in the Billy Graham organization.
Dave Stevens took her to a store that had a whole section dedicated to her. She found it amusing that these pictures that were only sold under the counter in her day were now prominently displayed.
That’s his name! I remember him! I was in an art class with him (and a lot of other sorta-big-name artists). Burne Hogarth (who did the Tarzan comics) had a class, and everyone came out of the woodwork to attend it. (I somehow slipped through the cracks too.) I couldn’t remember that guy’s name, but I remember him showing his comic to Hogarth and others.
Sorry for the hijack, carry on…
Thanks for the clarification. Google seems to run about 50/50. The Taschen book of 50s pin-up girl postcards I just bought refers to her as Betty in the credits.
OK, for those of us who don’t have that book handy, who were the other eight?
Joan Barry, who won a paternity suit against Charlie Chaplin.
Jimmy Boyd, who sang “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.”
Brenda Joyce, who played Jane in Tarzan movies.
Miss Vicki and Tulip, former wife of Tiny Tim and daughter.
Johnny Nash, who sang “I Can See Clearly Now.”
Piccola Pupa, 50s Italian singer.
Kool Dip Sing, singer who appeared on the Ed Sullivan show.
I can safely say that Bettie Page is the only person on that list I’ve heard of…
The book margin mentioned is The Real Bettie Page by Richard Foster, 1997. I had never heard of Page before I bought and read the book. Interesting read and interesting lady. She did, indeed, have problems with mental illness and troubles with the law. She stabbed several people and was tried for attempted murder, diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and incarcerated for years in a mental facility.